In October of 2009, Kimberly Cates of New Hampshire’s Mont Vernon was savagely and senselessly murdered by a group of angry, antisocial adolescent boys. Her daughter Jaimie was also stabbed and beaten but survived the attack.
Steven Spader was found guilty of first-degree murder last fall. In light of Spader’s fate, his chief accomplice, Christopher Gribble, decided to go the “not guilty by reason of insanity” route … and failed miserably.
Yup, Gribble, like Spader, was found guilty of first-degree murder (Judge Gillian Abramson actually said in court, “Infinity is not enough jail time for you”) … and deemed “sane”.
Sanity is an interesting concept, one that means different things to many people. To me, anybody that cold-bloodedly kills someone else is completely insane—but that doesn’t mean the person should not be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
I mention this because one of Gribble’s tactics involved laying the blame for his “insanity” directly on the doorstep of his mother, sharing in court details of what he considered to be a “troubled” childhood and exposing fantasies he had about killing his mother, Tamara, who he claims abused him.
[Gribble] at first declined to go into detail about his fantasies, smiling and saying he didn’t think his lawyers wanted him to get too specific while on camera. But when his lawyer pushed for detail, he obliged.
“Things like cutting little pieces of her off, little bit by bit,” he said. “Listening to her scream like I screamed. Telling her, ‘Hey! How’s it feel now?’”
According to Gribble, his mother’s overprotective and overbearing nature in raising him directly correlated to the killer he became … and therefore should allow him to get away with murder.
Yeah, freaking logical, right?
Tamara Gribble did admit in court to breaking a wooden spoon when she was hitting her son, but that it was a one shot deal and that she never again hit him.
Here’s the thing. Corporal punishment is completely legal. There’s a line, of course, and an argument could be made that breaking a spoon over your kid’s body is crossing it … but does it excuse a murder that was almost Mansonesque?
I was spanked as a child. A lot, actually. It has never once occurred to me to kill someone, like, seriously commit murder.
This is a pale comparison, but I had a hard enough time holding onto my golden retriever, Puck, when she was euthanized at the age of fourteen so she wouldn’t have to die alone. Watching a dog that I knew and loved pass away before my eyes was horrible, and it was the right thing to do (Puck was arthritic, incontinent, and starting to suffer) … the idea of causing the flame of a human life to extinguish is just unspeakable.
And Christopher Gribble took a human life. He can blame his mother all he wants—mothers tend to make convenient targets in situations like this—but the fact is that many people walk this earth having endured far more than a broken wooden spoon that wouldn’t hurt a fly.
Judge Abramson was right … infinity is not long enough.
You Might Also Like ...